Building Disarmed
Edward Rolandelli of Newark Museum Staff begins removal of Broad Street landmark donated to institution by Harry W. Smith of Caldwell, who watches from window.

The carved arm and hammer which has graced Broad Street for 92 years was carefully removed from the brown brick wall of No. 498 today and taken to the Newark Museum, two blocks away. The museum's curator of decorative art, Ms. Margaret White, has confirmed the opinion of a lot of secret admirers of the mighty wooden arm: it's real art.

Clenching a hammer as if to strike, the great wooden arm was erected as a symbol of the workingmen whom an early Newark merchant named William M. Smith sought to attract. Smith had a mechanic' clothes shop in a gray, four-story building at 474 Broad Street, now occupied by the Essex Desk Co.

34 inches at Bicep
The arm was carved by a skilled woodworker named Henry Higginson, Sr., who lived at Greenwood Lake and was a cousin of Smith. It is a right arm and measures 34 inches at the bicep. The years have bleached a pale white, but originally it was a healthy blacksmith tan.

In 1903 the arm was moved to the building at No. 498. For the first 22 years, it was on the Bridge Street side, and since then on the Broad Street side of the building.

All those years it was selling work clothes, most recently for the Katzin shop.

"We've had our eye on that arm for 29 years years," a museum staff member said. "Thenthe other day the owner said we could have it. We were very pleased."

The owner is Harry W. Smith of 55 Crane Street, Caldwell, a descendent of the founder of the shop until it's sale to Katzin's in 1933. Smith retained to the bulging arm, and when storms damaged the great elbow, he had a cabinet maker repair it.

It will be added to the museum's collection of American folk sculpture, the best known item of which is the elegant red-jacketed "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines," almost a trade mark of the Junior Museum. Captain Jinks has no biceps at all.

American Folk Scupture is described by museum experts as a true and indigenuos expression of the American artisitc sense becuase of its very absence of pretense and importance. In other words, the people who carved the cigar store indians, Captain Jinks and the Arm With Hammer weren't trying to imitate great European masters, as a lot of early American painters were.

They were fashioning articles for practical uses, museum officials explained.


KATZINS UNIFORMS
65 Market Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Tel: (973) 623-3457
Fax: (973) 623-3522

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